At Work

Email etiquette for professionals

While face-to-face communication is important, getting your message across via cyberspace (email, forums, social networks) is equally important as this medium is vastly used for work purposes.

Email is something we use on a daily basis. It can be easily misunderstood and misconstrued.

Be careful how you word your email. You could be perceived as being rude or ignorant by the recipient!

Here are some tips on how to be graceful and friendly in your email correspondence:

o Some companies let their employees choose their own username for their email addresses. Choose wisely. Would a prospective client open an email if it’s from

o When composing your email, state a summary of the email you have written in the subject field to alert the reader. Bear in mind that silly and meaningless subjects might end up in the spam folder, so construct your words well!

o Start your email by instilling emotions or rather appear to be approachable and friendly, such as, “Dear Marie, how are you?” or “Hope you’ve had a good weekend”.

But if you don’t feel like being nice, the least you could say is “Dear Mr Johnson” or “Good morning, John”.

o Try to reply your email within 24 hours of receiving it unless you are away from your computer.

If you have a huge number of messages on a daily basis and are away for a holiday, remember to reply when you get back to work and start the message with an apology for the delay in replying.

If you are away from work for long periods of time (leave, abroad on assignment), do set an auto response email. State clearly that you are unavailable to reply during a period of time by stating the date and if possible, pop in contact details (of your colleagues) in case of emergencies or any urgent matters.

o Avoid using ALL CAPS; you’re neither shouting nor filling up a form!

o Don’t forget to put in your contact details in the signature or at the bottom of your email messages. And do end your email messages with “Thank you.”